After all those years of chasing rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Djokovic is on top of the list of most major championships for a man.
Djokovic did it by beating Casper Ruud 7-6 (1), 6-3, 7-5 in the French Open final on Sunday. The first set was tight until 6-all, and then Djokovic simply took over, dominating the tiebreaker — as he often does — and the second set, before grabbing 12 of the last 13 points to seal the victory.
That allowed Djokovic to break his tie with Nadal at 22 majors. Federer, who announced his retirement last year, is next among men with 20, while Djokovic’s idol, Pete Sampras, is fourth with 14. And to think: Sampras set that mark by winning his last Slam in what turned out to be the last match of his career, the 2002 U.S. Open final.
Here we are, just 21 years later, and not only did three guys surpass Sampras, but Djokovic moved way past him.
Serena Williams finished her career last year with 23 majors, the most for a woman in the Open era. Margaret Court won 24, some during the amateur era.
Djokovic’s win also moved back into the top spot of the ATP rankings, jumping from No. 3 to replace Carlos Alcaraz at No. 1. Djokovic beat Alcaraz in the semifinals.
The women’s singles title in Paris was won on Saturday by Iga Swiatek, who defeated Karolina Muchova 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. That gave Swiatek two trophies in a row at Roland Garros and three in the past four years. She also won last year’s U.S. Open and is just the third woman to start a career by going 4-0 in Slam finals.
WHEN DOES WIMBLEDON START?
The next Grand Slam tournament is Wimbledon, which begins on the grass courts of the All England Club on July 3. Djokovic will head there halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam. In 2021, he came quite close to becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four major tournaments in one season but lost in the U.S. Open final.
Novak Djokovic is listed as a minus-155 money-line pick to win Wimbledon, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Second on the men’s odds is Carlos Alcaraz, at plus-500. Nick Kyrgios, the runner-up to Djokovic at the All England Club last year but who hasn’t played since January, is the joint fourth pick at plus-1600. For the women, Iga Swiatek is the top pick at plus-340, even though she’s never been past the fourth round there, while 2022 champion Elena Rybakina is listed next at plus-430.
GET CAUGHT UP
What you need to know about the year’s second Grand Slam tennis tournament:
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THE NUMBER TO KNOW
11 — The number of Grand Slam titles won by Novak Djokovic over the past 20 major tournaments, dating to 2018. Rafael Nadal won six in that span, and three men each won one: Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz.
THE QUOTE TO KNOW
“It’s just so much pressure and emotions and expectations from my side, personally, and from anyone else that, once it’s finished, once everything is done and dusted, it’s just incredibly satisfying, of course, if you finish with the trophy, another Grand Slam trophy, and at same time, it’s huge relief, because I’m just glad it’s over.” — Novak Djokovic, after winning his third French Open championship and 23rd Grand Slam title overall.
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